Reds legends part of 'legacy beyond football' plans for Melwood
A new partnership between North West housing and regeneration group Torus, the Fowler-Carragher Academy, swim! and Beth Tweddle Gymnastics has secured the future of Melwood's iconic training facilities building.
Since taking ownership of Melwood from Liverpool Football Club in August 2019, Torus has developed ambitious plans for a landmark mixed-use housing scheme, delivering affordable, sustainable, multi-generational living and enduring community connections.
With the team at Torus busy re-imagining Melwood as a lasting asset for the community, every effort was made to ensure the existing world-class facilities were retained, and opened up to the public for the first time.
Torus’ chief executive, Steve Coffey, said: “Melwood is an iconic site – for West Derby, for Liverpool and for Torus.
“We called our community consultation ‘a legacy beyond football’ to underline our vision for a landmark housing-led scheme. Retaining a strong sporting connection was always high on our list of priorities.”
The partnership announced today with a host of sporting legends gives the training facilities building a new lease of life.
The Fowler-Carragher Academy – the brainchild of Reds icons Robbie Fowler and Jamie Carragher – will take on operational responsibility for the existing building, which will host a college unlocking a range of brand-new training and educational opportunities for youngsters across the Liverpool City Region.
Swim! and Beth Tweddle Gymnastics – each with a focus on engaging children in activity at grassroots level and led by GB Olympians Steve Parry and Beth Tweddle respectively – will launch a sporting hub from the facility. Offering both swimming and gymnastics programmes, the hub will give local children aged 0+ the opportunity to try a new sport, make new friends and have fun.
“Partnering with Torus to kick off the new chapter in Melwood’s history was a natural fit for the Fowler-Carragher Academy and our mission to give local kids and young people opportunities to aspire and succeed,” said Carragher and Fowler, whose professional careers were nurtured and shaped at Melwood.
“We are extremely excited to provide the unique offer of a fantastic education alongside a professional football programme backed by sport science experts.
“Melwood will provide the opportunity of extending our offer and creating a beacon of national excellence, which we set out to create in 2015.”
Tweddle said: “I know Melwood’s sporting heritage occupies a strong place in Liverpool’s heart, which is why we jumped at the chance to be involved in this project, providing gymnastics and swimming for the local community in a world-class facility.
“We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to be active and, through this new facility, we will be able to do just that.”
Torus is also working with the Professional Footballers’ Association to explore options including supported housing at Melwood for ex-footballers with dementia and other care needs.
PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor, on behalf of the PFA Charity, said: “We are pleased to support this project in principle, with particular regard to looking after those of our former members in need. We hope Melwood could become a national blueprint for such supported housing projects.”
Coffey added: “We’re incredibly excited to begin this journey with Fowler-Carragher Academy, swim!, Beth Tweddle Gymnastics and the PFA.
“By working together to both honour the site’s past and re-imagine its future, Melwood will become an exemplar of how a housing-led scheme can meet multiple local needs and unlock sustainable positive change for communities.”